Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Moments of reflection

So, first of all, I'm going to be closing out my "journey to me" journal site, which was the start of my journaling for Eliza. It's bittersweet to me. It's the place that I chronicled life just before Eliza, thoughts about Eliza and of course, our China trip. It's the place that I kept up w/ being at home w/ Eliza and it's one of my favorite places to look at and re-read...over and over. * * My how she has grown since being that little peanut! * * I'm going to have it printed on CD and I'm debating about whether I pay the fee for a Keepsake Book. I've decided that I'll close that journal after the last entry in August, which will be...TA DA... Eliza's and my trip to Kansas to spend a few days w/ 2 of our Yangdong family friends (Megan and daughter Emma; Julie, from Oregon, and daughter Jaiden). I think that will appropriately be a full circle moment for both Eliza and myself.

Eliza's referral photo...taken approx July 2005

Eliza today...July 2008!

I've realized I'm not much of a photographer...that or my camera just stinks. Two other Yangdong family friends whose blogs I enjoy catching up on (Tiffany and Kelly) are quite the photographers...colors, lighting, of course their "subjects" are so photogenic too. Anyway, I've been trying to capture the sunflowers in bloom and our hen, Emma, posing (rousting) at dawn next to them, but couldn't quite do it justice.

Everyone keeps asking me if I've noticed a difference w/ Eliza having glasses. Yes, definitely! She is actually watching tv now and she is enjoying her puzzles. Don't think I'm not going to let this child sit and watch a tv program either. It's long overdue and a joy for me to see her "watching" the program. Of course, having a 3 year old home all day, it's a nice distraction for me to be able to get some things done too!!

Eliza watching Barney!!!!

Friday, July 25, 2008

While I was posting...

While I was posting the last entry, it dawned on me that the room got very quiet. (Eliza was watching Berenstein Bear's and bouncing on the couch.) I turned to look for her and found her sound asleep in a sitting position on the's only noon?

Here's a photo of Hogan and Allie. Allie has grown so tall and filled out over the summer. She's the best big sister too. She has earned quite a bit of money babysitting (her sister) this summer, giving Derek and I golf time. We're playing in a Friday night couple's league. Allie has also been reluctantly selling her old horse things on craigs list (saddle, helmet, boots, etc.). She's been very brave during this transition time. She was so sweet, she bought me a t-shirt from our local Feed Store yesterday. It has a horse's face on it w/ a ring of flowers framing the horse. The horse looks exactly like Clark. She said it was the only one and was the first shirt she saw when she went into the store. She said it was a sign from Clark. How precious!

Just a little Clark story to share...we bought him shortly after moving to the farm. When we brought him home, he settled in as if he'd lived here before. I had my show horse "Louie" (Louis) at the time and Clark's name, when we bought him, was CJ. So, because he settled so quickly and was so great on the trails, we named him Clark...after Louis and Clark. Well, some months went by and we were cleaning out one of the many sheds on the property. We came across an oil painting, sitting high on the shelf in the shed, it was done by the young girl who lived on the farm before us. It was a very, very good painting of a horse. Well, guess who the horse looked like? You got it, Clark. So, from then on, we decided that perhaps Clark had lived here before? Who knows?? Either way, he lived a happy life here and gave our (then) little girl lots of happy memories. Thanks for taking such good care of Allie, Clark!

Seeing well...

Eliza is doing great keeping her glasses on. This was the first week at The Little Gym that she had her glasses and boy did she improve; finally loving the balance beam. Before this, she was a little afraid of the height; I'm sure now, it was because she couldn't see well. She also got into the obstacle course more than ever this week.

I'm only finding the glasses left around the house once or twice a day (oy...note to self, buy a brighter, colored pair next time). Boy do her eyes look tired when she takes them off and isn't wearing them. She rubs and rubs at her eyes when her glasses are off. It's so funny watching her push them up on her nose to adjust them. (We've had to get them adjusted a few times; I think we've got it now. Gotta love her tiny little flat nose!)

So, on the Eliza, Hogan and I front, we have been enjoying our morning walks together. Sadie is just too old to handle a daily jaunt anymore. Hogan is doing great on leash and following the heel command. He walks right beside the jogger and sits when we stop. I've taught him to sit when a car approaches, other walkers, joggers, dogs approach. I especially wanted him to get used to walking beside the jogger so that when he is in "therapy" dog mode and we're visiting hospitals or nursing homes, he won't be bothered by the wheelchairs and won't try to climb up on people either. (My 12 yo lab, still has to walk in front of or criss-cross the jogger.) He has been so easy to train and is the most obedient dog. He's only 7 months old. He adores Eliza too. The two of them are always together. It's really special to watch.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

See Miss you can see!

E-Highlights for the week:

"Ta da...Eliza got her eyeglasses today!"

Okay, Eliza officially wears glasses now. When she first put them on in the office, she immediately began looking around and smiled so bright. The prescription is a lot stronger than I thought, in the left eye. It's amazing how poor her vision is. She then began taking them off and putting them back on. Then she began keeping them on, but looking over the top as they'd slide down her nose. (We have to get them adjusted better. Any suggestions on how to keep glasses on a little flat-bridged nose?) At home, she kept them on the entire afternoon and evening. It was so fun watching her explore the house and her toy cabinet as if she was looking at so many things, literally, for the first time. Pretty cool.

"Mom, E and big Sis finally saw Kung Fu Panda!"

As predicted, Eliza loved it! As for Mom and big Sis, not so much. Okay, it was pretty good, but more violent and loud than we had expected. It was good though, don't get me wrong. Eliza didn't seem to mind the violence or the thundering noises. In fact, she was out of her seat and standing, practicing right along w/ the leg and arm movements and shouting "eyah". Allie and I were laughing so hard. It was very cute! She watched the entire movie. Later, I found a dancing-singing hamster at the drugstore, dressed as a Kung Fu warrior and when you squeeze his hand, he sings (in hamster voice), "Everybody was Kung Fu fighting..." I had to get it for her. It's her favorite toy right now.

...And that's the E highlights for the week so far~!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Another chapter closes

I dread writing that I wish for a year to be over when we're only 7 months into it, but it's true. 2008 has been a pain-filled year with the passing of our 16 year old golden retriever, Meg; a month later my dad, and just this 4th of July weekend, our dear old horse, Clark. Can you believe it?
Allie and (unflattering fat photo of) Clark...a year ago.
Such a good boy...bareback, no bit, just a of the best kind!
Allie, Clark and Georgie Girl - April '07

So, Clark rebounded from an illness a few months ago, we think a snake bite, only to end up blind. This weekend, he had a stroke; spent the weekend getting into the pond, disoriented and couldn't find his way out. We had to "fish" him out twice...not an easy task when the "fish" is 1000 pounds and resisting you. We had hoped he'd pass on his own, but Monday we ended up calling the vet to put him down. She confirmed that he most likely had a brain tumor, evidenced by his "floating eyes". Clark was Allie's horse; her childhood best-friend, she told me the other day. So, while I'm grieving yet again (c'mon already), I'm also grieving for Allie and also for our now alone horse, Georgie Girl, who is still calling out for Clark and refuses to come down to the barn. We're all a mess...

Trying to stay focused on each day and all the blessings that we have. The farm is back on the market. We are definitely ready to move on and take our happy, favorite memories with us; pass the farm onto the next family who will love it as much as we did. Hubby is very happy to give up the farm work, expenses, horses, etc., and have me join him on the golf course again (which was our first date and what brought us together those many...11 years ago). So, I've picked golf back up again and must admit that it feels good to be playing again. My joints definitely feel stiff and I don't have the swing I used to, but I can still hit the ball. Eliza has enjoyed riding in the golf cart with us on a few early evening outings. She'd rather run barefoot all over the fairways and green then swing a club though right now. Can you blame her? So, while we're not committing to any house until we sell the farm, we've been looking at some on the golf course. Could be a problem w/out a fence though...between Hogan wanting to chase golf balls (thank you to Brendan who currently uses our horse pasture as his personal driving range and has trained Hogan to retrieve his shots) and Eliza who loves running free and has been used to the wide open farm.

Update on her preschool services evaluations: she passed the hearing test, no problem. She definitely needs eyeglasses due to astigmatism in both eyes, severe hyperopia in her left and slightly in her right, and at risk for amblyopia. So, with hope that she'll keep her glasses on (ha, ha, ha), her visual development will hopefully kick in. We'll see. We have some cute, snazzy frames on order to try on...of course, dusty pink or lavendar will be the colors of choice. I pick them up tomorrow for a fitting; then they'll fill the prescription and she should have her glasses by next week. That's going to be interesting. I'll be sure to post pictures.

Okay, well that's all from here...that's enough, isn't it? Pool, golf, house showings...keeps me hopping everyday!